The Obama administration's pay czar issued rulings on Friday for a second tier of top earners at bailed-out companies and said far fewer were getting big cash salaries this year than last.
The number of employees whose cash salaries were proposed to be $500,000 or more was down sharply in 2010, a Treasury official said, but it was unclear exactly how many were at that level.
Kenneth Feinberg still is supervising pay practices at five firms that received money under the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). They can still receive other benefits, like stock, in addition to salaries within principles set by the Treasury that aim to tie total compensation to performance.
Feinberg supervises pay practices at American International Group Inc
Amid public anger at companies that got taxpayer bailout funds and still paid their executives generously, the administration said last December it was capping pay for the top 25 employees. The information issued on Friday covers the next tier of executives from the 26th top paid through No. 100.
A Treasury official told reporters only five of the group will get cash salaries of $500,000 or more in 2010, down from 65 who were to get salaries at that level in 2009.
Companies that pay cash salaries under $500,000 to their top employees do not have to be face a review by Feinberg.
Total compensation, which covers not just salary but bonuses and stock awards, is supposed to be guided by principles that include a stress on long-term rewards and favorable corporate performance.
The Treasury official said that, in theory, there is not a strict upper limit on potential compensation provided that it meets the standards set under the guiding pay principles.
(Reporting by Glenn Somerville; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)